I’m not going to lie — I love a good shortcut when I’m entertaining. Pre-diced veggies to save time in the kitchen? Sign me up. Boxed cake mix? I’m so there. When you’re entertaining you want to focus on your guests having a great time, and, let’s face it, you want people to think you’ve spent hours in the kitchen. The ultimate goal? Spend less time prepping, but serve quality food and drink that doesn’t take up all your pre-party time. Then you’ll have more time to get ready, be the belle of the ball, and, of course, accept the many compliments you will undoubtedly receive.
One of my favorite crowd-pleasing drinks to serve is sangria, and whaddya know, National Sangria Day is December 20! Traditionally a Spanish or Portuguese beverage made with white or red wine, brandy, and fruit to soak up all the goodness, sangria is a perfect party drink. But, instead of spending time sourcing ingredients and mixing your own, simply serve organic Eppa Sangria in a pretty dispenser with a nice garnish, and you’ve saved yourself a bunch of time without sacrificing your entertaining style.
As they say, you eat with your eyes, and you drink with your eyes, too! A nice serving display makes all the difference! Here are three different ways to serve sangria:
1. Classic punch bowl: A classic glass punch bowl with punch glasses and a ladle will stand the test of time! This method allows guests to ladle wine-soaked fruit into their glasses.
2. Beautiful glass pitcher: This is a great choice because you probably already have one of these at home — winning!
3. Dispenser: Glass dispensers are super popular because of their attractive shape and easy self-serve style. Pro-tip: I’ve never found a glass dispenser that doesn’t drip out of the spout, so put a towel or drip catcher underneath the spout to avoid any spillage.
4. Slow cooker: For a warm drink that hits the spot in colder months, follow this recipe for Spiced Warm Eppa.
Spiced Warm Eppa
1 bottle Eppa Sangria
1 red or green sweet apple
¼ cup premium gold rum
1/3 cup honey or sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Combine ingredients in a large pot or a slow cooker. Gently warm on low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the honey/sugar dissolves and ingredients have been well blended. Ladle the mulled sangria and diced apples into mugs (leave seasonings behind) and enjoy!
5. In popsicle form: Everyone loves a good popsicle, especially one of the adult variety! Plastic popsicle molds are widely available — just fill them up ¾ of the way full, add a few bite-size pieces of fruit, and freeze for at least 24 hours.
6. As part of another cocktail: Sangria is an easy, delicious and beautiful mixer. This photo is of an Eppa Margarita. Find this recipe and other great ideas here.
To Garnish or Not to Garnish
I think you know what I’m going to say. When serving any cocktail, a garnish takes it up a notch. Here are a couple of easy garnish ideas:
7. Garnish bar: Serve sangria in a pretty pitcher or dispenser, and display small decorative bowls of fruit garnishes such blueberries, raspberries and citrus slices for guests to garnish their own drinks.
8. Garnish on a stick: Pre-thread fruits like cranberries, cherries or raspberries on toothpicks and perch on top of glasses for a decorative garnish.
Rimming glasses with sugar or sugar and spices like cinnamon is another easy trick when serving sangria or any cocktail.
9. Rim the glasses: Prep a small bowl of water and pour your rimming sugar/spices on a flat plate. Dip the rim of your glass into the bowl and then twist the wet rim into the sugar or spices. You will have a perfectly rimmed glass in no time! It even works on clear plastic cups if you choose use plastic. Do this to empty glasses before guests arrive for a pretty display.
Celebrate National Sangria Day in style with fun garnishes, serving pieces and Eppa Sangria for a great party!